Isis Releases Long-Awaited Launch Date for Two-City Trial
The Isis joint venture has finally released a launch date for its much-anticipated two-city NFC trial, which is scheduled to begin on Oct. 22.
Isis, which is made up of Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile USA, will launch in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Austin, Texas, said it will have up to 20 NFC-enabled handsets available by the end of the year for payment and other applications.
Isis has said in the past there will also be loyalty and offers available, but it is unclear how many merchants will support payment and coupons or redeeming loyalty points with a single tap of the phone, which Isis calls “SmartTap.”
The pilot was supposed to start earlier this year, and was most recently delayed from its summer launch schedule. Isis blamed small “punch-list” items that it said together would be vital to getting the customer experience right.
Such high-end phones as the Samsung Galaxy S III and the HTC One X and the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE have already been certified for Isis, which will put the payment and other secure applications on SIM cards the telcos issue. Isis declined to say how many phones would be available at launch, though for T-Mobile customers it will reportedly be the Android-based Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy S II and Galaxy Relay 4G.
Isis plans to make a significant marketing effort in the two cities to promote the trial.
Isis had signed up a list of roughly 50 merchants in the two cities and plans to enable loyalty, couponing and other offers in addition to payment, as of May.
Most of the merchants were announced then, and while some are well-known chains, such as Foot Locker, Macy’s, Dillard’s and The Coca-Cola Co., most are local merchants. And Isis has not publicly announced additions to the list of merchants since, except for some fuel-dispenser suppliers for convenience stores and gas, or petrol, stations.
Most of the merchants that will accept contactless payment from the Isis Wallet are chains, such as 7-Eleven convenience stores and McDonald's restaurants, which already accept contactless cards supporting Visa payWave, MasterCard PayPass, American Express’ ExpressPay and Zip from Discover Financial Services.
Plans call for up to three issuers, JPMorgan Chase, Capital One and American Express, to offer NFC payment applications for the launch, stored on NFC SIMs issued by the telcos.
Isis also plans to have an Isis Cash prepaid card that consumers can load with their other credit and debit cards.